Contact Us

UIREEJ Leadership

Jan Furman
Executive Director

Jan Furman professor emerita of English leads the activities of the UIREEJ. A distinguished UM-Flint faculty member, Professor Furman directed the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. She has served on faculty committees at all levels of the university in one of a number of efforts to make excellence inclusive. Professor Furman studies American literature with emphasis on narratives of national identity and representations of race and gender, which shape and challenge those narratives. Her research has led to many essays, books, and edited volumes, including Toni Morrison’s Fiction (1996), John McCline’s Life During Slavery and the Civil War (1998), Song of Solomon:  A Casebook (2003), “American Romance, the Moral Imagination and Toni Morrison: A Theory of Literary Aesthetics” (2012), “Telling Stories: Evolving Narrative Identity in Toni Morrison’s Home” (2014), Toni Morrison’s Fiction: Expanded Edition (2014). Professor Furman earned a bachelor’s in English at Tuskegee University, a master’s in English at Bucknell University, and a PhD in English at Florida State.

Nathaniel B. McClain 
Managing Director

Dr. Nathaniel B. McClain is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership within the School of Education and Human Services. He brings a wealth of experience to the Urban Institute for Racial, Economic & Environmental Justice with over twenty-four years as a public school educator serving in the following capacities: Superintendent of Schools, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, various middle and high school principalships, and classroom experience as a high school English Language Arts teacher. His research interests involve promoting social justice and equity to ensure that underserved populations of students receive access to services and resources that promote student achievement. He considers himself to be a servant-leader devoted to implementing successful educational programs and experiences for students and staff by cultivating trusting relationships with all stakeholders. 

Affiliate Faculty

Benjamin Gaydos
Chair and Associate Professor of Design

Benjamin Gaydos is a Detroit-based designer and educator. He has conducted research in design and anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received an MFA in Visual Communication/Design. He has presented his work at Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard University, and MIT’s Media Lab, among other institutions. Professor Gaydos is co-founder and principle of goodgood, a social impact design studio with offices in Boston and Detroit. He is  founding editor and creative director at Flint Magazine, and a producer and designer for Sensate Journal at Harvard University, and co-author of the First Things First Manifesto (2020). He is Associate Professor of Design at The University of Michigan – Flint, where he leads the Arts + Culture Research Cluster and directs the Community Design Studio, a unique student learning lab for community-led social impact design.

Lisa Lapeyrouse
Associate Professor

Lisa M. Lapeyrouse holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and an M.S. in Mexican American Studies. Her Ph.D. is in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Dr. Lapeyrouse completed post-doctoral training at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles and the Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center at the University of Texas-El Paso. Dr. Lapeyrouse is a mixed-method researcher who has dedicated her research career to the study of social determinants of health and health inequities experienced by Latinx populations and other vulnerable groups. Her research has been presented at prestigious scientific conferences such as the American Public Health Association’s Annual Research Conference and can be found in refereed journals such as Public Health Reports, the American Journal of Health PromotionBehavioral Sciences, among others. As an instructor, Dr. Lapeyrouse has received several teaching awards for her innovative instructional techniques and experiential learning courses. Dr. Lapeyrouse is the Principal Investigator for the 2019 Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER)-Latinx; Beyond Rhetoric: Confronting and Combating Racism in Genesee County, Michigan; and Coronavirus Vaccination Intentions Among Vulnerable Populations in Genesee County, Michigan.

Cathleen Miller
Associate Professor of Accounting

Cathleen L. Miller, Ph.D., CPA teaches auditing, financial accounting, and governmental and not-for-profit accounting.  Having earned her Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky with an emphasis on behavioral accounting, she has published in practitioner and academic journals, including Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory, Behavioral Research in Accounting, and The Journal of Accountancy.  She has received several awards for her service and community engagement, including Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award—Beta Alpha Psi (2019), School of Management Outstanding Service Award (2017), Civic Engagement Course Implementation Grant—University of Michigan-Flint (2014), Internal Revenue Service Award (2008), Community Partnership Project Development Funding Grant—University of Michigan-Flint (2006 and 2007), and she was nominated for Michigan Campus Compact Campus-Community Partnership Award for VITA Program (2013). She has worked with the IRS to run the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program in Genesee County for twenty-two years.  Annually, she and her students help approximately 400 individuals and families file their federal, state, and city income taxes, resulting in approximately $300,000 in refunds.  Professor Miller’s current works include a case study on sustainability accounting for financial accounting courses, experimental study on teaching internal controls using a database project, and study of current DEI policies and programs in accounting firms. 

Toko Oshio
Assistant Professor

Toko Oshio, Ph.D. studies child development, from infancy through youth, taking an ecological perspective that emphasizes interactions between people and their environments. Her primary research interest is the socio-emotional development of children and youth and how that development is shaped in contexts where crucial interactions happen, particularly in families, schools, and communities. Through her recent work leading the Provider Empowerment Program (PEP), she and her team have uncovered various unmet needs among Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) child care providers in Flint and have examined the gaps in policies affecting such providers. Prior to PEP, Professor Oshio completed a study on undocumented and DACA recipient youth and their families in Michigan. She earned her Ph.D. in Child Development at Michigan State University.

Jeremiah Wade-Olson
Associate Professor of Political Science

Jeremiah Wade-Olson, Ph.D. is a political scientist, who studies discrimination in contemporary American prisons.  With a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky, his research has been published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory and Public Administration Review. His book, Punishing the Vulnerable: Discrimination in American Prisons focuses on the many vulnerabilities that incarcerated Americans face, such as poverty, mental illness, and racial discrimination. The book details how African American, American Indian, and Latinx inmates receive harsher punishments, including solitary confinement, and fewer rehabilitative programs, such as substance abuse treatment and mental health counseling. It also examines other injustices, including how female inmates suffer from a lack of rehabilitative services, Muslim inmates are placed in solitary confinement for practicing their religious beliefs, American Indians are disproportionately punished, and undocumented immigrants are forced from prison to prison in the middle of the night.  Professor Wade also looks at the multi-generational impact of incarceration on families and works on projects for restorative justice community organizations in the Flint community. Professor Wade-Olson’s current projects include exploring trauma and interactions between police and LGBTQ+ individuals and content analysis of right-wing rhetoric on race and police brutality.